Bus Turistic is Barcelona’s main tourist bus service that enables you to more easily see what Barcelona has to offer. For tourists it is extremely successful as this open top double decker bus tour gives you an idea of what Barcelona is like in a short period of time.
First let’s have a look at the positive nature of Bus Turistic. You can travel all day on any of the three routes with a single ticket. You can ride up and down on the one route, getting off and on as you please, or mix your journeys between the three. Not only that, but you are provided with an audio guide in any of 10 languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese) that explains what you can see on the part of the route you currently are at.
You have the option to sit downstairs or upstairs and there are separate queues for each, the upstairs being most popular because the bus is open-topped. This offers you a much clearer view as a tourist. The buses arrive from 5 to 25 minutes apart depending on the time of year starting frm 9-9.30 A.M., though the schedules are displayed clearly at the bus stops.
The services run all year, except Christmas (25/12) and New Year Day (01/01), although the Green Route is limited to 3rd April to 27th September. Each route takes about 2 hours apart from the Green Route that takes 40 minutes.
With a total of 44 bus stops in the city this is a wonderful way to see Barcelona, and if you use these buses early on in your vacation or business trip to Barcelona, then you can plan which parts you will revisit to see in more detail, moreover you will also have the included coupon book to use for the rest of your stay (with discounts for various attractions and restaurants and the map of the city).
It is a very convenient way to become familiar with the more interesting sights in Barcelona, and by using the six transfer stops, the stops common to the different routes, you can switch from one route to another and see the entire city with one daily ticket. Here is a brief guide to the three Bus Turistic routes:
If we draw the imaginary line following the Avinguda Diagonal Road that crosses all Barcelona, it will separate the whole city in 2 parts: above and below the Avinguda Diagonal.
The Red route starts at the Plaça de Catalunya and most of the time goes above the Avinguda Diagonal Road. It is perfect to see those attractions which are quite far from the city centre such as Park Guell located in the Gracia district, Tibidabo hill with its amusement park, Monastir de Pedralbes, Sagrada Família and Barcelona Football Club stadium in les Corts.
There is a lot to see and to do on this route, and plenty of restaurants for lunch or dinner.
The Blue route also begins at the Plaça de Catalunya and goes below the Avinguda Diagonal; it is perfect to explore Montjuic hill which literally overflows with museums and attractions such as Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the botanic gardens, Poble Espanyol and Olympic Stadium.
Or to discover Port Vell and Port Olympic: you can get off at Colom-Museu Marítim, and visit not only the marvelous Maritime Museum, but also the Barcelona Aquarium which is great for the kids, or have a helicopter flight over the sea and the city at Cathelicopters (Ticket Counter at the Bottom of La Rambla).
The Green Route is the shortest route, running for only part of the year from Port Olímpic via Platja Bogatell-Cementiri del Poblenou and the district of PobleNou, once the centre of Catalan industry, then onto to Parc Diagonal Mar, exhibiting some ambitious architecture in a newly developed area of Barcelona. Finally you reach the Barcelona Fòrum building, a unique triangular structure which is well worth visiting.
By use of these three routes you can visit most of the areas in Barcelona of interest to tourists (and to residents) for just 21 Euros a day, or 27 Euros for two consecutive days. Children aged 4 - 12 years pay 13 and 17 Euros respectively, while under 4s are free.
The service is adapted.
However, not all is rosy with the Bus Turistic and there are some drawbacks to using it. The main one is the long queues, particularly during mid summer (July-August), the high tourist season. You can wait 30 minutes or more to get on a bus, unless you want to sit inside.
It can also get extremely hot in Barcelona mid-summer and while some of the buses are equipped with a special convertible roof which can be folded back, some are not and the passengers who decide to sit upstairs can suffer from the sun burning. And it is strongly recommended to get water with you.
The buses can also get over-crowded, and sometimes pass stops by without stopping because there is no room for more passengers.
Given all that, however, Bus Turistic is a great way to see Barcelona, and it makes planning your vacation much easier as you tick off the various areas and attractions you want to visit in detail later. It’s a must for any visitor to Barcelona, even if you use it for just one day. Once you have your seat you can stay there all day long if you want to.